Around 205 billion emails are sent around the globe every single day (Radicati Group, 2015). A small business owner with the right address book emails can be a powerful tool to help you connect, engage and convert prospective customers and clients, but with so many unread and instantly trashed emails, how can you make sure your message gets the attention it deserves?
EMAIL THE RIGHT PEOPLE, GET THE RIGHT RESPONSES
Building your mailing list is more of an art than simply hoarding email addresses in an excel file! You want to make sure you are emailing people who are willing to receive your mails and are likely to be interested in what you are offering. However, this doesn’t mean you should limit your mailing list to only those people who have previously used your services – attracting new customers is, after all, one of the primary aims of your campaign. So how can you build up a list of people who don’t even know they want to hear from you yet?
For starters, having a ‘join our mailing list form in your shop, website and social media is a must. People can actively opt-in to hear from you, and you can couple this sign up with a value-adding offer like a freebie or discount to give customers that extra little incentive to sign up.
Another great way to reward your customers and get them onto your mailing radar is through loyalty schemes and monthly specials. Getting your customers to sign up for your loyalty scheme using a simple form including email address (and a legalizing check box allowing you to contact them) is a straightforward and trusted way of bulking up your mailing list.
Perhaps the most powerful tool at your disposal for building up a good mailing list is your email itself. Sending quality, engaging messages with social sharing buttons, ‘Forward to a Friend’ and ‘Subscribe’ options is a classic word-of-mouth way of getting interested followers onto your list. So what kind of content makes an interesting and engaging email? Worry not, we have you covered in the next section of this article!
RE: SUBJECT LINE, HOOK, AND SINKER
The first thing anyone notices when opening their inbox is the subject line and sender. It is important to ensure these are as interesting and engaging as possible, to grab the readers’ attention and push them into clicking on the mail. Here are a few tips for creating quality subject lines:
Be creative. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, think of a headline that would make you want to read on, and adapt this to your product or service.
Make it as personalized as possible, if your email program allows you to add a ‘first name tag’ in the subject line, this can be useful in drawing the reader’s attention right away.
Avoid the classic spam jargon like ‘free’, ‘urgent’, or capital letters/symbol subject lines. Instead, try probing, relevant questions, maybe ‘Is your business wasting money?’ or ‘Are you sure you are doing the best you can?’.
It is important to gauge your audience, if a company sender and a formal subject is more appropriate for your customer base, such as in B2B industries, it is probably best to stick with this. If your customer base is more small business orientated, it might be interesting to send a mass email with your name as the sender, and a plain text, ‘Re: how are you doing?’ email subject.
Once you have the reader opening your emails, congratulations! You are over the first major hurdle in email marketing campaigns. The content now must live up to the promising subject line. Your content should be concise, relevant, and interesting, and should of course include a ‘Call to Action’ button linking to your website or product, and contact details in case anyone wants to find out more. In terms of the layout, there are again two approaches you can take.
Firstly, you might want to structure your email with beautiful, colorful images, surrounded by fancy buttons and badges. This can be useful if you are sending a newsletter, or if your product is very aesthetic in nature. However, amongst the hundreds of decorative HTML emails the average person receives each week, sometimes nothing stands out more than a plain text email. This is the second approach, and if used correctly can be more effective than bombarding your customer with pictures and colors, that may seem tacky or mass-produced.
THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE CLICKS?
The timing of your email is important. There is a belief that most people check their emails in the morning, so the majority of email marketers send their campaigns either overnight or very early in the morning. However, we’re sure everyone can relate to the way in which we check our emails in the morning – it is more of a weeding-out process than a reading process. So perhaps it might be more useful for you to go against the grain and send your email around lunchtime or mid-afternoon when people are likely to recheck their emails after lunch or on their afternoon commute home. This means you will have less competition and more attention focused on your email.
SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS – LEARN FROM YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE
Once you have your email campaign set up, it is important to keep monitoring and reacting to its performance. Every customer base is different, and there is no definitive guide to being successful. Keep a record of click rates and any increases in sales or inquiries after a certain email, and you will soon understand your customer better, giving you the tools you need to be successful online.